Forum is a traditional commercial property in the heart of Helsinki´s central business district. First Forum was built for the 1952 Olympic games, intended as a temporary structure arranged around a central atrium. Present building was completed in 1985, based on an architectural competition from 1977. It represented a significant extension to the shopping center, engaging surrounding properties and addressing height differences of the site with new pedestrian connections and public spaces. The glazed corner of Mannerheimintie and Simonkatu has become a landmark. 

Forum’s properties changes and improvement works were developed and designed in 2009-2015, with a close collaboration between the client, commercial consultants, construction project management and city officials. The shopping center remained in use during the whole construction period between 2012-2015. 

Over the years the overall architectural vision and pedestrian traffic flows had gradually been blurred, due to various expansions and alterations. The goal was to realize the renewal and extension of the shopping center as a high-quality and controlled urban space, with emphasis on public indoor spaces, pedestrian connections and outdoor spaces on Kukontori level. New vertical accesses were established and horizontal connections were clarified, to facilitate orientation, improve the circulation of customer flows and logistics of the retail spaces. Shopping corridors, as a part of the city´s pedestrian network, were carefully dimensioned based on pedestrian flow simulations. Resulting network provides access from different levels of the shopping center to the surrounding street and underground passage grids, and directly connects levels from the existing underground parking facility to the rearranged Kukontori square six stories above. 

New shopping floors were created on the second basement level, former storage floor, and on Kukontori level, around the central atrium. The existing gigantic one-piece steel structure supporting the nine emblematic glass pyramids of the atrium roof was raised 2,5 meters with a single working step, allowing the realization of a new commercial level. The partly listed signature spaces of the shopping center were renewed with respect to original character and materials, mainly white Carrara marble. Existing stone plates were retained and reused when possible. 

Forum was named the best shopping center in the Nordic countries in 2017, by the Nordic Association of Shopping Centers NCSC. 


Location: Helsinki, 2015 

Scope: 45 000 brm² 

Client: Forum Capita